Imperfections on the skin surface are easily removed by burning off the unwanted area with a controlled beam of laser light. The skin will grow back smoother and more even in tone than before. While the outer appearance of the skin can be improved drastically through the use of laser technology, the underlying layers are also affected as the heat generated by lasers can stimulate new collagen growth, increasing skin health, firmness and elasticity.
The Science of Cosmetic Surgery Lasers
Lasers focus energy on a certain color of the light spectrum. The color is dependent on the type of laser being used. The type of surgery and color of the skin tissue will determine which laser color is required. It is possible to target a very specific area, such as a birthmark, without harming the surrounding area, because the color laser being used will only impact certain pigmentation.
Lasers are preferred in the operation room due to their ability to make incisions or penetrate the skin without causing excessive bleeding. The properties of lasers can actually lead to coagulation instead.
CO2 lasers and erbium lasers are some of the oldest forms for facial use, falling under the group of ablative lasers. Ablative lasers burn all the epidermis to effectively exfoliate the skin and tighten the underlying structure. The results are unmatched, but recovery can be painful and discoloration of the skin is a possible side effect. Non-ablative lasers are able to eliminate downtime since they are designed to strictly heat the deepest layers of the skin without harming the surface. However, blemishes on the skin are not well addressed with non-ablative lasers.
Fractionated lasers are growing in popularity. They are less powerful, and therefore have less inherent risk than ablative lasers. Indicated by its name, the fractionated laser burns only a portion or fraction of the superficial layers of skin on the face, requiring less downtime than ablative lasers but possibly requiring multiple treatments.
With each advance in laser technology that is made, more and more procedures are available for patients that are highly effective and less invasive than traditional methods.
Laser Eyelid Surgery
Eyelid surgery, also known as blepharoplasty, is a surgical procedure which restores the youthful, rested appearance of sagging and puffy eyelids. Laser eyelid surgery allows surgeons to have greater precision near such a delicate area of the face. Small blood vessels are sealed with the laser, greatly reducing the amount of bleeding that occurs during surgery. Swelling and bruising following surgery are limited, making the recovery much easier.
Though there are several, one of the most favored advantages of laser blepharoplasty over traditional eyelid surgery is the ability to treat the lower eyelid region without incisions. No sutures are needed, and thus no scars result.
Less invasive than a traditional full facelift, the laser mini-lift addresses the same areas of the face, lifting and tightening skin of the lower face, jaw, and chin. Since laser technology helps to increase production of collagen, the building block of the skin, the procedure can also help to prevent future sagging in the face before it even happens.
The laser mini-lift requires much smaller incisions than a traditional facelift. Liposculpture is utilized at the same time to improve the contours of the face and reposition and remove excess fatty deposits. The two-hour procedure results in minimal bruising and swelling. Downtime is generally about three days for the average patient.
Blemishes and conditions of the skin are not always easily treated with topical creams and ointments. Laser resurfacing has become an effective means of eradicating moles, warts, sunspots, wrinkles, acne scars, pre-cancerous skin growths, and other blemishes. Anyone with these skin imperfections can be considered as a candidate for the procedure.
During laser resurfacing the outermost layer of skin is vaporized, making way for the growth of healthy new skin to form. Multiple lasers may be used to address separate, specific conditions. After treatment the skin will be pink and begin to peel, much like sunburn. Recovery times range from one to two weeks, depending on the extent of laser resurfacing that was performed.
The Laser Ultralift is a procedure developed as a rejuvenation technique for the eye area, eyebrows, cheeks, jowls, and neck. This laser treatment improves skin laxity in those areas for comprehensive age-management of the face. Ideal candidates for the procedure are individuals over the age of forty-five who are concerned with loose skin and wrinkles, and/or deep nasolabial folds.
The procedure is a combination of some of the most popular facial plastic surgery techniques. It is similar to getting a blepharoplasty, browlift, facelift, neck lift, chin implant, fat transplant, liposculpture, and laser peel all wrapped into one. The procedure is also less invasive than any of those traditional methods. Laser Ultralift takes approximately three to four-and-a-half hours to complete. Recovery involves very little discomfort. The downtime needed before returning to work is between ten and fifteen days.
Laser surgery is not without its risks. Most complications are temporary, though a few may be permanent. Scarring, changes in skin pigmentation, infection, and bleeding are all possible side effects of using lasers. The skin may experience prolonged redness or tenderness. If the herpes simplex virus is present, it is possible that cold sores could result. Additionally, there is always the chance that a laser treatment will not be able to fix the problem. Sometimes multiple sessions are necessary, or the condition may return at a later date.
Obtaining the services of a facial plastic surgeon with extensive experience in laser surgery will help to diminish the risk of complications.
R. Patrick Abergel, M.D. is a plastic surgery expert. He has been performing laser surgery for over 20 years and has developed innovative techniques, including the Laser Ultralift. Call Dr. Abergel's Santa Monica orNewport Beach cosmetic surgery practice to schedule a consultation and further discuss the benefits of cosmetic laser surgery at 800-366-3211 or visit him online.
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